Do your medical bills contain errors?

Category: Health

Financial health check or cost of healthcare


Many people just pay their medical bills without thoroughly looking through the charges or giving them a second thought. After all, we just assume that the bills we receive in the mail are correct and that we’re being properly billed for what we owe. But did you know that your medical bills might contain errors, and you might be overpaying? In fact, an astonishing eight of 10 medical bills will contain at least one error, so it’s important to confirm that everything is correct. The next time you receive a medical bill and you’re unsure about the charges, take the following steps to ensure you’re being correctly billed:

Find out what you’re being charged for

A doctor’s visit for an annual physical or a simple test can still result in a long list of miscellaneous charges on your medical bill, and that doesn’t mean these different charges aren’t valid. However, you’ll want to carefully analyze every single charge that’s on your bill to make sure it’s for a service you actually had done. For example, you may have been billed for a urinalysis in addition to blood work, when all you had done was blood work. If each individual charge is not clear, you may need to contact your medical provider’s office and request an itemized bill.

Look for duplications

Duplications are common medical bill errors, and it’s not unusual for a patient to accidentally get charged more than once for the same service. Check the medical codes for each charge on your bill to see if there are any duplicates. If you do notice any duplicates, contact your medical provider’s office and ask for clarification, and confirm that you aren’t being charged more than once for the same thing.

Ask for an explanation of benefits

Your health insurance carrier might automatically send you an explanation of benefits (or EOB) before you receive your actual bill, but if you haven’t received it, be sure to ask for it. An EOB is often more detailed than a medical bill and will clearly explain what you’re being charged for, the portion you’re responsible for, total charges, and other important information. When you receive your medical bills, the amount should match the same amount that your insurance carrier provided on your EOB. If the amount you owe is higher, you’ll want to find out why—there is a possibly you’re accidentally being overcharged for something.

Steps to take if you find a mistake

If something doesn’t seem quite right on your most recent medical bill, and you have health insurance, ask your insurance carrier for clarification. You might also need to contact the healthcare provider that sent you the bill. If you still can’t make any progress and you’re confident that you’re being billed incorrectly, you may want to see help from a healthcare advocate.

 

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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, tax, or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.

Tags: billing errors, Medical Bills

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